Cybersecurity Research for the Future

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Cybersecurity Research for the Future
Communications of the ACM, January 2021, Vol. 64 No. 1, Pages 26-28
By Terry Benzel

“Cybersecurity is no longer solely an engineering discipline.”


The growth of myriad cyber-threats continues to accelerate, yet the stream of new and effective cyber-defense technologies has grown much more slowly. The gap between threat and defense has widened, as our adversaries deploy increasingly sophisticated attack technology and engage in cyber-crime with unprecedented power, resources, and global reach. We are in an escalating asymmetric cyber environment that calls for immediate action. The extension of cyber-attacks into the socio-techno realm and the use of cyber as an information influence and disinformation vector will continue to undermine our confidence in systems. The unknown is a growing threat in our cyber information systems.


Nonetheless, while the dark side is daunting, emerging research, development, and education across interdisciplinary topics addressing cybersecurity and privacy are yielding promising results. The shift from R&D on siloed add-on security, to new fundamental research that is interdisciplinary, and positions privacy, security, and trustworthiness as principal defining objectives, offer opportunities to achieve a shift in the asymmetric playing field.


Here, I will discuss three key considerations for cybersecurity research and development: interdisciplinary research themes, the role of experimentation in R&D, and education. Each of these will be the subject of future columns as we focus on opportunities for dramatically different security and privacy in our daily lives.

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About the Author:

Terry Benzel is Director of Networking and Cybersecurity Research at the Information Sciences Institute of the University of Southern California, Marina del Rey, CA, USA.